We bought our 4 year old her first lego set for Christmas. In preparation for this I decided to make a playmat/storage bag to keep the pieces from straying all over the living room (and in the process remain sane). The idea comes from a friend whose children play on a similar mat that had belonged to their father when he was a child.
Whilst they are playing most of the lego stays on the mat, so when you want to clear it up you just pull on the cord and, hey presto, one tidy living room.
To make the bag you will need:
A piece of sturdy material as long as it is wide
Bias binding (get the widest one you can)
I used Annamoa fabric from Ikea because 1) its quite thick and sturdy, so would hold up to being crawled around on 2) at 135cm its a bit wider than dress making fabric, so my mat could be bigger and 3) I had just the right amount left over from making curtains.
Lay out your fabric, then with a string and chalk to form a giant compass draw as big a circle as possible on the fabric. Cut this out.
Pin the bias binding all around the outside sandwiching the raw edges of the mat inside and sew in place. To work out how much bias you will need multiply the width of your fabric (which is now the diameter of your circle) by π (3.14, remember that from school?) and add a bit for the overlap. It’s the same calculation for the amount of cord you need, but add a bit more to give you room to tie a knot.
Now place your eyelets evenly around the edge of the fabric. At the moment my mat has 15 eyelets placed about 20cm apart, but after a few days of playing I’ve come to the conclusion that we need more, so I’ve bought another pack of 15 to fill in the gaps. When you are putting the eyelets in you need a solid floor to hammer against – I ended up doing it on the patio - I found that hammering against floorboards wouldn't bend the eyelets properly.
Finally thread the cord through, tie off and play.